Newtown was stunned with disbelief and then shattered with grief Friday as few tragic details of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School filtered out through authorities.
After parents and a gathering media corps waited for hours for some official word on shootings, Newtown Police and Connecticut State Police conducted a brief press conference at nearby Treadwell Park in the early afternoon to announce that the as-yet unidentified shooter was dead at the school.
At a 3:30 press conference, police confirmed that the shooting left 20 children and six adults dead, including two of the children who were transported to Danbury Hospital earlier in the day with grave injuries.
No names have been released, pending notification of the victims' families.
The shooter is deceased," confirmed State Police Lt. Paul Vance. He did not elaborate on the names or numbers of the reported dead and injured there.
According to Lt Vance, at approximately 9:30 am Newtown police received a 911 call. Soon authorities, including town and state police "conducted a shooter search," at the school. Lt Vance said, "There were fatalities at the scene – students and staff."
Senior advisor to Gov Malloy, Roy Occhiogrosso, told the media and worried parents and residents, "As you can imagine, the governor is horrified." The governor's chief concern was making sure families were notified, he said.
Lt Vance said, "There is a great deal of law enforcement activity at this time." The public will be informed via periodic press conferences. "Many agencies are working together to keep you informed." President Barack Obama contacted Governor Malloy to express condolences.
Local churches and clergy responded with counseling services and an open invitation to prayer and assistant to the families of the victims and to the community as a whole. St Rose Church scheduled a 7 pm mass and has opened its doors 24/7 to those who feel the need for sanctuary and support at the church.